An August First Friday

Posted: Thursday, August 05, 2004

Last July, the seven potters in Alaska Blue Clay Studios were introduced to fiber artist Ellen Anderson when they ended up sharing a month-long show at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery.

They decided that the art - Anderson's painfully intricate fabric and thread creations and the Blue Clay collaboration of pottery and ceramics - was a good contrast.

"Juneau Arts and Humanities seemed to think that the show went together really well, and we did too," said Mary Pat Wyatt of Blue Clay. "We were just thrown together last year, and this year we asked for each other."

Anderson, a semi-retired botanist with the U.S. Forest Service, will have at least four new works. The largest is 20 by 30 inches. She dyes white silks for her own color combinations. Last summer, her depiction of a winter low tide on Eagle Beach took more than 195 hours.

"It's kind of complementary," Wyatt said. "You have (her) soft fiber work contained with (our) hard ceramic pieces. And also the fact that her pieces are primarily wall pieces and most of ours will be displayed on pedestals."

Blue Clay includes the Voelckers family (Wyatt, Paul, James and Matt Voelckers), Dean Guaneli and the Twelker family (Eric and Janeann). The group formed a few years ago when Paul, a longtime potter, began showing Guaneli and the Twelkers how to fire pottery. When Paul bought a new gas kiln, he gave his old one to the Twelkers. The families fire independently and sometimes collaborate.

Sunday night, the Voelckers were in the middle of a new firing that they hoped would produce a good collection of bowls, platters and vases. They had 26 new pieces in their living room from a successful firing two weeks ago.

"Paul just rebuilt the chimney on the kiln, and the firing immediately after that was not all that great," Wyatt said. "The next firing (two weeks ago) was wonderful. Just about everything came out well.

"The chimney is kind of getting used to what it can do," she said. "Once you can get that stabilized, you should be a little more sure of what comes out. Every firing for us is a little different."

The Voelckers like to work in celedon, an iron-red glaze, and Shaners orange. Their collection will include several mosaics and a few of Wyatt's birds, which she uses as coffee tampers. The Twelker family will display a collection of bowls and jars.

• JUNEAU ARTISTS GALLERY: Local artist and designer Phyllice Bradner will be the featured artist at the Juneau Artists Gallery during August. Her exhibit will include three of her new limited-edition prints, as well as a collection of hand-painted silk scarves.

Bradner began making scarves in the last few months after taking a batik course at the University of Alaska Southeast. Most include some sort of cat, dog, fish or flower theme.

"I discovered that I really enjoyed doing this particular type of batik, which is done with water-soluble resists rather than beeswax, and I got into it," she said.

Bradner's newest print, "Taking Petunia to the Moon," depicts a young boy wearing Superman pajamas, holding a cat and flying over downtown Juneau and toward the moon. The view, as seen from Basin Road, includes a Jell-o-shaped Mount Jumbo with a cherry on top. "Taking Petunia" is the companion piece to the well-known Bradner print "Farewell Flight with a Dying Cat," starring Bradner herself soaring over town with her cat.

"He was an astro-traveler," Bradner said of her cat. "He used to go out of body. This was his last out-of-body experience."

Two other prints, "House on Starr Hill" and "Fourth Street Stairs," depict the 190-stair Fourth Street stairway.

• ANNIE KAILL'S: Pat Costello, proprietor of juneauphotos.com, will be showing some of his classic photos, as well as a handful of new shots from this summer, at Annie Kaill's during August. Prints will be available in 8-by-10, 8-by-12 and 12-by-18 sizes.

Costello has been running juneauphotos.com for about six years. The site is now getting 1.5 million to 2 million hits a month, he said.

"There's a lot of out-of-towners that look at the site, and there's a strong local following as well," Costello said. "It's a good opportunity for people to come out and say hi, and the part that I enjoy the most is meeting people and listening to their stories. Every time I do this, there will be about two, three, four or five people that will come up and say they moved here because of the site."

Costello recently invested in an eight-megapixel digital camera that captures 8 1/2 frames per second. It's allowed him to photograph more wildlife, in particular the fluke of a whale that he saw while boating through Icy Strait.

Costello was thinking about shutting the site down last winter. He hoped to register 300 paying members as a means of raising money to maintain the site. He ended up with 387.

"When we come to the end of the year, I'm going to consider trying to float the membership thing again," Costello said. "If I can't get folks to kick back, then I'll move on.

"I'd hope to continue to do it," he said. "I get a lot of fun out of it. I feel real privileged to be in people's houses every day and on their screens at work."

• EMPIRE GALLERY: Seven local artists are getting together for a group show at the Empire Gallery, 235 Second St., from 4-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6.

Theatre In The Rough co-director Aaron Elmore will be showing a collection of his handmade puppets from previous plays, including "Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Christmas Carol."

Painters Asha Falcon and Rob Roys will show work that they've displayed earlier this year at Rock Paper Scissors and Annie Kaill's respectively. Alli Rosen, featured a few months ago at the Friendly Planet's loft space, will hang some of her recent acrylic and oil work.

Cedar Stark, one of 15 photographers in the Alaska Photographic Arts Association spring show at KTOO, will show a few photographs. So will musician Patrice Helmar and actress Doniece Falcon. This is Falcon's first show.

After Friday, the show will be open by appointment. Call Rob at 586-2581 or Asha 586-2823.

• BIG BROTHERS, BIG SISTERS: The downtown headquarters of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Alaska, 110 Seward Street, Suite 2, will host Kids' Art Night, a collection of works by Little Brothers and Little Sisters in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Club of Juneau.

The night is intended to celebrate the artistic ideas of the particpants. Art supplies will be on hand for people to create their own works.

"I painted this picture because this is how I've felt my whole life," said Chaleb, a Little Brother, in a press release.

"I am extremely grateful to all the kids who participated in this project," said BBBS Vista volunteer LaToya Gates in the same release. "Their creative energy and fresh ideas keep me smiling."



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